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The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery British Volume
Vol. 87-B, Issue 2 | Pages 209 - 212
1 Feb 2005
Steele N Dodenhoff RM Ward AJ Morse MH

We prospectively studied the outcome of a protocol of prophylaxis for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in 103 consecutive patients undergoing surgical stabilisation of pelvic and acetabular fractures. Low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) was administered within 24 hours of injury or on achieving haemodynamic stability. Patients were screened for proximal DVT by duplex ultrasonography performed ten to 14 days after surgery.

The incidence of proximal DVT was 10% and of pulmonary embolus 5%. Proximal DVT developed in two of 64 patients (3%) who had received LMWH within 24 hours of injury, but in eight of 36 patients (22%) who received LMWH more than 24 hours after the injury (p < 0.01). We conclude that LMWH, when begun without delay, is a safe and effective method of thromboprophylaxis in high-risk patients with major pelvic or acetabular fractures.